Gathering together content for your new website is one of the most important aspects of designing and building a website. It is essential to have everything in one accessible place at the outset of the project. This will determine what you need to arrange. There is no substitute for professionally taken images and video alongside expertly-written copy. We understand though, that sometimes, budgets don’t allow for this, so we have created this quick guide to creating your own content and, just as importantly, getting it organized.
The main things to consider are:
- How many words will the website contain?
- and who is responsible for writing and proof-reading the copy.
- Create the website wireframes first and write the copy afterwards, before the designer begins work.
- If the website features a news page or other dynamic content, how frequently will articles be published on the website?
- Who will be responsible for creating these articles?
- Collect these in a Dropbox ordered by subject and date if possible
- Separate professionally-taken images from in-house images
- Do not include images that can’t/won’t be used
- Ensure that the relevant permissions exist from the image owner and anyone featured in the images.
- If the video is hosted, provide access. (Vimeo, YouTube etc)
- Ensure video is up-to-date and relevant
- If you have branding guidelines, please supply these for our designer to work from
- All existing logo files, typefaces and colour palettes should be shared in one folder called ‘Graphics’
- Logins & Access:
- If the website is to include elements imported from other websites (e.g. TrustPilot, carehome.co.uk, TripAdvisor, Booking.com) please advise at the outset of the project and provide login details or access.
If You Are Writing Your Own Website Copy
Writing copy is one of those jobs that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves and can fall to some unsuspecting person in the company because they got a B in A-Level English. The reality is that copywriting is still a highly-skilled job. Engaging a good copywriter is something we would always recommend if possible. However, we understand that not all budgets are the same so if you have decided to create your own copy, here is a top ten checklist to help get you started:
- Identify your target audience: Before writing website copy, identify your target audience, their needs, interests, and pain points. This will help you create content that resonates with them and addresses their specific needs.
- Define your brand voice: Determine your brand voice and tone, and use it consistently across all your website copy. This will help create a consistent brand identity and establish a connection with your audience.
- Create a content outline: Create a content outline for your website that includes the pages you need, their titles, and the type of content required. This will help you organize your thoughts and ensure that you cover all the necessary topics.
- Use clear and concise language: Use clear and concise language that is easy to read and understand. Avoid jargon, acronyms, and technical terms that may confuse your audience.
- Write attention-grabbing headlines: Write attention-grabbing headlines that communicate the value of your content and encourage visitors to read further.
- Provide value: Provide value to your audience by offering informative, helpful, and relevant content. This will establish your authority and credibility and keep visitors engaged.
- Use persuasive language: Use persuasive language that encourages visitors to take action, such as making a purchase, subscribing to a newsletter, or filling out a form.
- Optimize for search engines: Optimize your website copy for search engines by including relevant keywords and phrases that your audience is searching for.
- Edit and proofread: Edit and proofread your website copy for accuracy, grammar, and spelling errors. This will help ensure that your content is professional and error-free.
- Test and refine: Test and refine your website copy over time by analyzing visitor behavior and making changes to improve engagement and conversion rates.
Taking Your Own Images
When you are collecting images for a website, it is important to remember that you are doing this for the designer to use in his or her ideas. Don’t supply images you don’t like or cannot use. Understand that images on a website will look far better if they follow a theme. This may be the lighting, colour, style, exposure – the treatment of your images on the website is an important part of branding and your company’s identity. If you are taking your own images, here is a quick guide to getting started.
- Choose the right equipment: Start by choosing the right equipment for the job. A good camera with a high resolution will help capture detail and sharpness in your photographs. You can use a DSLR camera, a mirrorless camera, or even a high-end smartphone with a good camera.
- Decide what section of the website you are taking the image for and move the camera accordingly. For example, if you are taking a portrait but you know it’s for a landscape space on the website, take it in landscape and leave plenty of space around the subject for the designer to be able to reshape the image.
- Set up the shot: Once you have your equipment, set up your shot. Consider the lighting, background, and composition. Try to find a well-lit area with a simple, uncluttered background. Use the rule of thirds to compose your shot, placing your subject off-center to create visual interest.
- Portraits: If you are taking profile shots for a website, try and make them uniform in at least one way. It may be the location, or the background, but aim for consistency. Ensure that each subject fills the frame to the same degree.
- Adjust the settings: Adjust the camera settings to optimize your shot. For example, adjust the aperture to control depth of field, the shutter speed to control motion blur, and the ISO to control image noise.
- Focus on the subject: Make sure the subject is in focus by using manual or automatic focus modes. If you’re taking a portrait, focus on the eyes to create a sharp and engaging image.
- Take multiple shots: Take multiple shots of the same subject from different angles and distances. This will help you find the best shot and ensure that you have a variety of images to choose from.
- Edit your photos: Once you’ve taken your photos, edit them to enhance their visual impact. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and saturation to make the image pop. You can use photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, or use a free online editing tool like Pixlr.
Remember, taking a good photograph takes practice and patience. With time, you’ll develop an eye for composition, lighting, and subject matter. At Shuttlefish we use a mixture of our own images, stock images and professional freelances.
Andrew Duke https://www.andrewduke.co.uk/
Nick Short https://www.nickshortphotography.com/
Vanda Szabo https://vsphotography.co.uk/
Shooting Your Own Video
Unlike shooting your own still images, shooting video also requires you to edit together the individual pieces you have taken which in most cases takes longer than the shooting itself. Creating a compelling video can be a real challenge, but with these top tips, you may be able to create a video that engages and captivates your audience:
- Start with a strong concept: Your video should have a clear purpose and message. Start by defining your goal and message, and create a concept that will help you achieve it.
- Know your audience: Understanding your audience’s preferences and interests can help you create a video that resonates with them. Consider their age, gender, location, and other relevant factors.
- Record Your Audio Separately This will help you when it comes to editing the final video.
- Keep it concise: Attention spans are short, so keep your video short and to the point. Aim for a length of 2-3 minutes or less.
- Use engaging storytelling: Use storytelling techniques to create a narrative that captures your audience’s attention and keeps them engaged.
- Use music and sound effects: Music and sound effects can add emotional impact to your video and help set the tone.
- Use clear and concise language: Use simple and clear language that is easy to understand. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that might confuse your audience.
- Add a call to action: Encourage your audience to take action by including a clear and concise call to action at the end of your video.
- Test and refine: Test your video with a small audience and get feedback. Refine your video based on feedback to make it more compelling and effective.
In 2023, most high-end smartphones have very high video-making capabilities and there is a ton of editing software to choose from. We will state again though, that creating your own video can be both brilliant fun and frustrating! Keep asking yourself why you’re doing this, what you want to say and who you want to say it to. And good luck.